John Burford, RCVS Specialist in Equine Surgery and Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, holds laser surgery clinics approximately twice monthly here at the Scarsdale Equine practice.
The surgery is performed using a diode laser unit which cuts tissue using light waves. This has advantages over surgery using a scalpel for the removal of skin tumours such as sarcoids, melanomas and squamous cell carcinomas because many of the surgeries can be performed standing with sedation and local anaesthetic, and the laser seals blood vessels as it cuts, reducing bleeding and causing a small amount of thermal injury to the tissues left behind. This prevents the contamination of healthy tissue with cells from the tumour being removed. Whilst a laser wound cannot be sutured and must be left to heal, they are associated with only minor discomfort and tend to heal rapidly.
Laser surgery must be performed within the clinic setting, so equines attending the clinic are admitted for the day and dependent on the size of their tumour, may stay overnight for veterinary monitoring before returning home. Healing may take some time, but patients return to their normal management rapidly and often into work if the surgery site is comfortable and does not interfere with tack.
If you are interested in more information or would like a referral to one of John’s clinics, please contact the practice and speak to one of our veterinary surgeons.